January 11, 2017 Edition

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Thomison takes office as judge

County Judge John Thomison (back) and Justice Donald Richey look over financial reports during Thomison's first quorum court meeting as judge Thursday night.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

When John Thomison learned he would be Lawrence County Judge as nominated by the Democratic Party in September, a sense of resolve settled over him. While there were still a couple of months before he would take office, he did not hesitate to start learning and planning for his responsibility to the county.

"It was sobering to know what's coming and sad because of the circumstances," he said. Thomison was nominated to replace the late Dale Freeman on the ballot in the November General Election.

Thomison of Smithville and his wife, Rita Bilbrey Thomison, have two grown children, Lindsay Thomison Penn and John Hollis Thomison III. He is retired from Sloan-Hendrix High School, where he taught for 33 years.

A former mayor of Smithville, he has been a member of several county and regional boards.

Judge sets 2017 committees

The Lawrence County Quorum Court held its first meeting in 2017 on Thursday. The New Year brought a new county judge, John Thomison, and three new justices, Bill Powell, Heath Davis and Ron Ingram.

The new administration has also brought several new committees. Thomison said he has spent a lot of time in discussion with different people when forming these committees in an effort to put people where they are needed.

The 911 committee has been reformed. Sheriff Jeff Yates, Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Frank Owens, Steve Jones and Pat Roby Jr. were selected to serve.

Medical marijuana, tax cuts, state revenue
are among concerns for legislative session

With the start of the 91st General Assembly, Frances "Fran" Cavenaugh of Walnut Ridge took the oath of office early Monday afternoon to become state representative for District 60 in the Arkansas legislature. Prior to her swearing in, Cavenaugh, a Republican, held a series of town hall meetings for citizens, as well as firefighters, around the district.

At Thursday evening's town hall meeting at The Studio in Walnut Ridge, approximately 24 people attended, including Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker and Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp.

Mayor Snapp asked Cavenaugh for her thoughts on Gov. Asa Hutchinson's proposal to cut $50 million in taxes for low-income Arkansans.

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